Proprioceptive Sensory Disorder – Looks Like?

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bruised up legs

This little girl fell on stairs but this could have been my little one any day of the week.

Not Feeling ‘Grounded’

When my precious little one first came to me at 17 months I had no idea what that such a thing as a ‘proprioceptive sensory disorder’ even existed.  But, she was not sitting up by herself let alone crawling or walking, which she should have been doing. When she finally did walk at 28 months she became a bruise nearly from head to toe. She would bounce off of things and get right back up and keep going. Once she fell smack on her face in front of her Occupational Therapist (OT) and didn’t cry one single tear, got back up and went head long careening almost into the wall. It was her OT that first used the expression “proprioceptive sensory disorder”. 

Sensory processing disorders (SPD for short) covers an entire range of things our little one may be doing that may be purely confusing to us. I was so grateful that she was even walking that I didn’t connect the dots that there could be a ‘disorder’ causing her to be so black and blue. She wasn’t able to feel herself in her world and she never ever slowed down. Apparently she wasn’t getting deep sensory signals from her bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons that let her feel grounded; the subconscious awareness of her body’s position was missing.

Strange and Maybe Even Odd Behaviors To this day the sound of her feet on the floor is as though she is forcefully slapping her foot down as she walks and runs. And she does the oddest things with food. If there is a hot spicy sauce on the table this is what she wants … and nothing else. Her favorite activity before she could walk was to tear to shreds paper towels, sheets of paper, tissues, and napkins at the dinner table (that was a site when in a restaurant and sometimes the only way I could get a few moments to eat my meal). At the doctor’s office she would sit and contentedly tear to bits the paper cover on the exam table. What a site and surprise that was for the doc when he walked in!

What is Your Gut Saying Your daily observations, living day to day with the ups and downs, the melt downs and the exhaustion that often ensues for your special person AND for you is creating your story. Record these. I recommend keeping a log that you take with you to clearly demonstrate the gravity of what you are seeing. If this were a court of law, which of course its not, providing proof to substantiate your case is critical, the fact is if it isn’t written down it didn’t happen. You will be firmly advocating for referrals and services and like a seasoned attorney, you want proof for your case. That proof is your log. This will be the story you tell the pediatrician or the Occupational Therapist who may be assigned to help.

You want to clearly explain what has been happening. So watch how these behaviors may be interfering with your child’s life. You want to assess how the things ‘going on’ affects their ability to accomplish their daily activities and keep a log, recording as much of it as you can. Here is an abbreviated list of sensory processing signs that you may observe. It is a chart in which you can begin putting down your observations AND a couple of pages that you can take notes. SPDshortlist_lac.pdf

Of course there is so much more to say.   But for today…lets allow all of this to sink in. I will be back again soon. Please feel free to leave me your comments in the comment section below or email your questions to  I will get back with you as quickly as possible.

I hope you have found this helpful.

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